Parliamentary vs. Presidential Systems

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1 Parliamentary vs. Presidential Systems Martin Okolikj School of Politics and International Relations (SPIRe) University College Dublin 02 November 2016

2 1990s Parliamentary vs. Presidential Systems Scholars institutional debate Juan Linz Donald Horowitz

3 Parliamentary vs. Presidential Systems Parliamentary Presidential Decisive Resolute Institutionalized Coalition politics Centred on political parties Divided government Personalized Cantered on individual politicians Less organizational entities

4 Parliamentary Systems Government is appointed by the Parliament One-party or multiparty coalition governments

5 Presidential systems considerable constitutional powers generally including full control of the composition of the cabinet and administration is directly elected by the people for a fixed is directly elected by the people for a fixed term is independent of parliamentary votes of confidence

6 Presidential systems: president's strong claim to democratic legitimacy: Some presidents gain office with a smaller proportion of the popular vote than many premiers who head minority cabinets fixed term in office: The duration of the president's mandate becomes a crucial factor in the calculations of all political actors

7 Zero-sum Elections Presidentialism winner-take-all Parliamentary system power-sharing and coalition-forming

8 The Issue of Stability Impeachment Vote of no confidence

9 The Time Factor Max two fixed terms Party continuity

10 I Question on Party Organization Strong party is important part of democratic accountability Independently elected executive Weakens party cohesion Lacks compromise Less likely to vote together in the legislative

11 II Question of Interest Organization Corporatism Encourage forming of independent interest group community Pluralism Diversity of views Group independence from party Important group veto

12 III Question of Bureaucratic Organization the only democratically legitimate institution is parliament President not much executive role 2 rulers: Chief executive Controllers of the budget Semi independent agencies Jurisdictions (less effective) buck-passing

13 IV Question of Transparency Coalition only when no single party has majority Predictable coalition negotiations Vote for the chief executive leads to transparent relation between elections and electoral outcomes

14 V Question of Information More information bad government Information rich environment Information from free press

15 VI Question of Electoral Accountability National level Arising from concentration of authority Mask responsibility unpopular measures Local level Arising from multiple independent bodies blame game

16 VII Question of Political Change Flexible remove anytime Rigid only with impeachment

17 VIII Question of Institutionalism Predictable institutionalized form of politics Personalized political behaviour Media influence lead to conflict

18 IX Question of Contestation and Consensus Power monopolized by one party Episodic conflict during elections Continual conflict All parties in politics One party Veto power

19 X Question of Strength or Energy in Executive Government must have power Divided Institutional warfare of varying intensity Unilateralism Budget deficit

20 Constitution Agreement: Constitutional structure matter Disagreement: How constitution affect governance in a democracy

21 Conclusion Parliamentary system offer significant advantages over presidential system in the areas of economic and human development

22 Parliamentary System: Stronger political parties Corporatist interest organisation Centralized (national-level) electoral accountability Flexible policy making

23 Parliamentary System: Institutionalization Decisive leadership Function as a coordination device Votes for ideology and party

24 Presidential System: Individual ideas are not often preferred by society Votes based on personalistic characteristics

25 Which system is better? Depends on: Sociological Economic Political Historical

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